ERICA

FLOWERING SHRUB. The large family of heaths (heather) come under this category, some of which varieties are only successful in the greenhouse, while others are open-air subjects, growing slowly and requiring more than usual care in discovering what amount of water suits this or that variety. All are evergreen. Plant in sandy peat in October for plants in the open, re-potting greenhouse species in February. Take cuttings under a cold frame in sandy peat, preferably in July. Most heathers run to 1 ft. or 18 in., but the tree heaths grow to 6 ft. or more. With a few exceptions, notably Erica carnea (Alpine Heath) and E. darleyensis (mediterranea hybrida) they do not succeed on limy or chalky land. They should be cut back soon after flowering to encourage a bushy, compact habit. A selection of heaths will ensure flowers for the greater part of the year. The various varieties of E. carnea flower during November to April. They include Springwood White and Sprigwood Pink, Vivelii with rich, deep carmine flowers, compact and with bronze-red leaves in winter, Winter Beauty, rose-pink and starting to bloom in December, and Queen of Spain, light madder-pink.

E. mackayi Dawn bears pinkish-purple flowers in late summer and early autumn. E. vagans (Cornish heath) is of spreading habit with long sprays of bloom, the deep cerise, Mrs D. F. Maxwell, being especially fine. E. terminalis (Corsican heath) grows to at least 3 ft. with rose-coloured flowers in late summer. These turn brown and remain attractive throughout the winter.

E. campanulata is rich yellow, flowering in late spring but is only suitable for the greenhouse.

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